CHAMBER MUSIC WORKSHOP & RETREAT with the ALEXANDER STRING QUARTET
String Quartet Masterpieces of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven (1732–1827)
September 7–10, 2017
Ratna Ling Retreat Center (Sonoma County, California)
The Apollo Academy for Health and Humanism has put together a unique weekend: A chamber music intensive (for musicians and non-playing participants), melded with a series of health-focused offerings (yoga, meditation, healthy food preparation, preventive medicine), writing sessions and exploration of the environment — all in the beautiful natural setting of Ratna Ling Retreat Center (Sonoma County, CA).
• Pre-formed quartets have an opportunity to be coached by members of the ASQ, and playing participants who are not part of a preformed quartet will have a chance to engage in chamber music reading sessions with members of the Quartet and Apollo Academy professional musical staff.
• During evening "dinner concerts" the ASQ will team up with esteemed composer, pianist and music historian Robert Greenberg to provide insight into the string quartet masterpieces of these three Viennese composers and their historical period.
For details and an application, visit: apolloacademy.org
The first volume of ASQ's recording of Shostakovich String Quartets has been digitally remastered. The updated version of Fragments I (FCL 1988) is in production and will be available soon.
FORTHCOMING: Mozart — The Final Quartets (Apotheosis, vol. 1)
ASQ will be recording Mozart's final four quartets in early 2017, and we're planning a May release of this 2-CD set. Apotheosis (FCL 2016), the first volume of a two-volume compilation of Mozart's late works, can be pre-ordered from Naxos.
ASQ — THE MOVIE!
The Documentary Film Institute at San Francisco State University has produced an elegant documentary: CON MOTO: THE ALEXANDER STRING QUARTET follows the group performing throughout Poland in 2015 as part of the Beethoven Easter Festival. The film reveals the storied tradition of chamber music and the collective voice that emerges through the unique personalities of these four world-class musicians. Part road movie, part music doc, part portrait film, Con Moto takes on the shape and rhythms of classical music as it races to keep up with these ever-thinking, ever-moving performers. Dates and venues for an international festival screening tour will be announced. VIEW ONLINE at FoghornClassics.com
Tales from the Road (2015): It's hard to believe that we've been back from Poland long enough to have toured the East Coast. Nonetheless, we are still savoring the memories of our latest European adventure. If you're a Poland aficionado, or just curious, here's a link to the detailed recap of the ASQ's stellar experience in Poland (and that page has links to several mid-trip posts).
US Artists International: We are particularly happy and proud to have received very welcome support toward the Quartet’s travel from US Artists International (USAI), administered by the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation. US Artists International is made possible through support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
The Arts Desk "Best of 2014": Graham Rickson of The Arts Desk helped us end the year on a high note by including Brahms: The String Quintets & Sextets" (FCL 2012) on his list of the year's 10 best classical CDs. He wrote,
“Also hailing from San Francisco are the Alexander String Quartet, whose recent Bartok and Shostakovich cycles on the Foghorn Classics label wouldn’t disappoint anyone. They’re joined by violist Toby Appel and cellist David Requiro on a new set of Brahms’s String Quintets and Sextets. There’s no dryness, no heaviness, in readings which exude common sense, warmth and sanity. Impeccably judged tempi, immaculate dynamic control — these are performances to live with, and remind one that Brahms’s music needn’t sound grumpy.”
You can see the complete list of Rickson's 10 favorites here.
Beethoven Boxed Set: The complete Beethoven Cycle on Foghorn Classics is now available as a boxed set (FCL 2005), which includes all three volumes for a total of 9 CDs:
These unique recordings feature the Ellen M. Egger Quartet of instruments, built by renowned San Francisco luthier, Francis Kuttner. The instruments are here recorded under optimal conditions by Judith Sherman (winner of numerous Grammys, including 2008 “Producer of the Year, Classical”) at the American Academy of Arts and Letters.